Backcountry Review

A devil-may-care city boy (Jeff Roop) brings his girlfriend and potential fiancée (Missy Peregrym) on a camping trip to a provincial park that he insists he knows like the back of his hand since he grew up in the area. Surprise, surprise, he’s stubborn and doesn’t know what he’s doing and her resourcefulness might be the only way for them to get out of the woods alive and in almost as many pieces as they had when they came in.

The feature debut of actor and short filmmaker Adam MacDonald is what it is, but by survival movie standards, it’s quite an achievement. Eschewing shaky-cam false verite for a shooting style that’s inherently cinematic to draw out the enormity of the gorgeous woods and the direness of the couple’s situation, MacDonald has crafted an intense, viscerally terrifying experience, especially when a pissed off and hungry black bear shows up to make their ever mounting problems worse.

Equally great is Peregrym, whose pragmatist underlines something important in filmmaking: she’s a strong female character with agency that should be listened to rather than ignored, especially when the going gets rough.

The review was originally published as part of our TIFF 2014 coverage.

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Read our interview with writer/ director Adam Macdonald here.

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